|News you can use: Prevent Accidental Poisoning|
|Thursday, January 12, 2012|
Every year poisonings result in nearly 900,000 visits to emergency rooms. The overwhelming majority of poisonings occur at home. As consumers, we buy more than a quarter of a million different household products — materials used in and around the home for medication, cleaning, cosmetic purposes, exterminating insects, and killing weeds. These items are valuable, but misuse — especially when used in inappropriate applications or quantities — can cause illness, injury, and even death.
Many household products are pesticides. By their very nature, most pesticides create some risk of harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms. Some common household products that are pesticides include kitchen, laundry, and bath disinfectants and sanitizers, cockroach sprays and baits, insect repellents for personal use, rat and other rodent poisons, flea and tick sprays and powders, flea and tick pet collars, products that kill mold and mildew, weed killers, and some swimming pool chemicals.
Most poisonings can be prevented by following some basic safety precautions. The first step is to read the label of a potentially poisonous product before you buy it. When you read the label first, you will understand the intended use, buy the proper amount, know how to store unused portions, and know how to dispose of the empty container.
Preventing poisonings is the best path for your family’s safety. In addition to the danger of the poison, none of the medical procedures or drugs used to treat poisonings is risk-free. Many of the antidotes are toxic in their own right, and even simple procedures such as pumping a stomach incur a risk.
The most common accidental oral exposures occur when pesticides have been removed from their original containers and placed into a different or unlabeled bottle, jar, or food container. People, especially children and the elderly, sometimes do not realize until too late that the product inside is not the same as the label on the outside. Keep products in their original container with the label intact. Not only will this help prevent accidental ingestion, but you will also have the first aid information and the active ingredients if you need to call your doctor or poison control center when an accidental poisoning occurs.
There are potentially poisonous products in almost every room in the house. Store these products out of the reach of children, even if you don’t have small children. Many poisonings happen when children are visiting homes where no children live. Don’t store food and potentially poisonous products on the same shelf, and keep cupboards with hazardous products locked or closed with a safety latch. Remember even personal care items such as cosmetics, mouthwash, hair sprays, and perfumes can be poisonous if ingested by a child. When you have visitors, place their jackets and handbags out of the reach of curious children. Clean up spills and leaks from cleaners and automotive products immediately, especially if you have pets, because these products can have a sweet taste that is attractive to animals. Immediately replace the cap when using these products, so a distraction won’t lead to a tragedy.
Keep the nation-wide poison control center’s number, (800) 222-1222, and your doctor’s phone number beside every phone in your home.